I always wondered how I would make the transition from my old flock when the time came. I had 6 hens, eight and nine years old, only 2 were laying at all last fall. Over the winter I lost three! (2 got ill and neighbor put them down for me, one died on the roost in the middle of night). Now I have three, and one has been not up to snuff (sits a lot) for a while. Only one is laying--the 9 year old! still 3 eggs per week. Now I've got 4 chicks in the brooder that are 3 weeks old. In another week, I need to get them out of the brooder and into at least a portion of the run. There is a mini-coop that they can use if necessary for a while. I'm really torn right now about whether to just put down the one hen, and try and integrate the new ones with the last two old hens. I know it will be a PITA, but they are still trucking, and I have plenty of room...or whether to have all three put down at once and start fresh. Are the old hens likely to carry diseases or mites? Is there any value to having them around for the young ones? Is integration too stressful for those old hens?